The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) served as an ideal destination this week for a series of biofuel demonstration flights that transported, among others, ICAO secretary general Raymond Benjamin to Rio de Janeiro for the sessions.
Thirteen aviation groups, including NBAA and GAMA, are firmly supporting continued research by the Department of Defense on the use of biofuels after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to strip funding for those efforts. By a 13-12 vote last month, Senate committee members are blocking Defense participation in programs to construct biofuel refineries and have prohibited the Pentagon from purchasing renewable biofuels that are more expensive than regular jet fuel.
Amyris’s jet biofuel, which is sourced from Brazilian sugar cane, has passed all required testing and will be used during a demonstration flight this month on an Azul Airlines GE CF34-10E-powered Embraer E195. The flight will take place in Brazil on June 19 during the Rio+20 United Nations conference on sustainable development.
Jet Aviation has launched a global refurbishment program “to renew and harmonize the look and feel” at its FBOs and major maintenance facilities worldwide. The makeover will start with Jet Aviation’s Geneva, Zurich and Basel facilities in Switzerland, focusing on the lobbies and customer and crew lounges. By 2015, all of its FBOs and major MROs worldwide will be updated.
Jet Aviation launched a new fuel sales service for its FBOs in the European, Middle Eastern and Asian regions this week at EBACE. Using its global purchasing power to negotiate a better fuel price with supplier World Fuel Services, Jet Aviation’s new fuel sales service can pass cost savings on to FBO and MRO customers visiting these facilities. It will be offered in tandem with the company’s existing fuel program, which is exclusive to aircraft management clients.
BP’s oil refinery in Cherry Point, Wash.–which had been closed since February when a critical unit was damaged by fire–is expected to resume production this month after completion of repairs and annual maintenance. The refinery, the third largest on the West Coast, produces more than 200,000 barrels of gasoline and jet fuel a day and supplies the bulk of jet fuel for airports from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. According to industry data provider Argus, the shortfall did not result in any dramatic jet fuel price spikes in the region.
Global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider Platts launched a jet fuel microsite yesterday aimed at the energy information needs of the aviation industry. “We’re pleased to introduce a one-stop source of global jet fuel news and price data that we believe will further enhance transparency in and broader understanding of the aviation fuel markets,” said Platts global editorial director of oil Dave Ernsberger.
Persistently high oil prices and the imperative of reducing aviation’s carbon footprint have driven rivals Airbus, Boeing and Embraer to partner in the quest for cleaner-burning biofuels. The airframers signed a memorandum of understanding March 22 at the Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva to jointly promote the commercialization of “drop-in” biofuels—alternative fuels that make use of the existing petroleum infrastructure.
Oil speculators’ uneasiness over the resurgence of the “Arab spring” is the main factor driving jet-A prices ever closer to–and in some cases beyond–$6 per gallon, according to aviation fuel consultant Mark Wagner. Jet-A prices in the continental U.S. are now averaging $5.64 per gallon, ranging from $3.94 in the Great Lakes region to $6.01 in the Eastern region, current data from AirNav shows.
The price of Brent Crude, which is refined to make jet-A and other fuels, continues to rise and stood at $124.20 per barrel late yesterday.
Today at the Air Transport Action Group Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva, Boeing, Airbus and Embraer signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on the development of drop-in, affordable aviation biofuels. The three aircraft manufacturers will seek “collaborative opportunities to speak in unity to government, biofuel producers and other key stakeholders to support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources. Their goal is to have biofuel meet 4 percent of aviation’s fuel needs by 2020.